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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Claremont CA

How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Claremont CA, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Claremont CA

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Claremont CA can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Claremont California interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Claremont CA. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous California vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Claremont California interior designer bathroomNow that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Claremont CA home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Claremont California employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Claremont CA school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for California or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Claremont CA business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Claremont CA colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Claremont CA schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Claremont home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Claremont CA, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Claremont California

interior designed kitchen in Claremont CaliforniaChoosing the right interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Claremont California.